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Restaurant Openings & Buzz

Week of Sept. 19, 2005: Tangra Asian Fusion Cuisine, Olea. Plus, hot dog freaks and a meatball crisis at Craftbar.

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In other breaking culinary news: On the last night of service at the old Craftbar, the kitchen ran out of its popular meatballs. One desperate meatball obsessive who had just walked through the door was so upset he offered to pay the lucky recipient of the last order $20 per meatball (a plate of three goes for $18), but only got one. So, it wasn’t a surprise when a lot of people were outraged over Craftbar’s decision to nix meatballs altogether when the restaurant moved to its splashy new quarters on Broadway. Apparently, though, you can’t keep a good meatball down: After much soul-searching, a repentant Tom Colicchio says, “We were foolish to take the meatballs off the menu, so starting today, they’re back.”


Photos by Carina Salvi  

Openings
Tangra Asian Fusion Cuisine
Just as there aren’t a whole lot of Chinese-American restaurants in Calcutta, there isn’t exactly a glut of Chinese-Indian joints in New York. There is, however, Tangra Masala, the Elmhurst-based granddaddy of New York Chinese-Indian restaurants, and a popular destination for the particular brand of Chinese food adapted to the Indian palate by generations of ethnic-Chinese Indians. Since fans travel from Manhattan and farther to squeeze into the little storefront, Tangra has branched out with an ornate 230-seat banquet hall of a space in Sunnyside. Chef-partner Peter Lo has supplemented the menu’s signatures, like deep-fried “lolly pop” chicken, “chilli fish,” and Manchurian fried rice, with new additions, some of them (Masala fries, Philly prawn) even inspired by the American diet.
39-23 Queens Blvd., Sunnyside; 718-786-8181


Olea
It hasn’t been easy keeping track of Johannes Sanzin. In the decade since he left Bouley, the ever-elusive chef has opened Pitchoune, Sanzin, 131 Duane, Bistro St. Mark’s, even a pair of budget-gourmet soup shops. These days, though, he’s in culinary semi-retirement, having traded the rigors and long hours of the kitchen for what he calls “paperwork” at Pequeña and Maggie Brown, the restaurants he co-owns with Chelsea Altman. This month, with new partner Dan DeMarti, they’ve added Olea, a Pan-Mediterranean taverna and raw bar, to their Brooklyn empire. The menu, which includes dishes like falafel-crusted artichoke hearts and gnocchi with crab fra diavolo sauce, is overseen by chef Gary Moran, late of Relish. Cash only.
171 Lafayette Ave., at Adelphi St., Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-643-7003


Sides
Broome Doggs is the first branch of what co-owner Harry Hawk (of Brooklyn’s fast-food paradise Schnäck) hopes will grow into a small but powerful hot-dog dynasty, one that could rival the great Papaya posse. The unofficial ethos at the storefront shop seems to be that there is a frankfurter out there for everyone. The menu lists more than a dozen varieties—most of them made by the Bronx’s venerable Stahl-Meyer or Brooklyn’s Jubilat—including a natural-skin hot dog, a fancy Black Angus dog (pictured), and one made of tofu, not to mention various kielbasas and wursts
250 Broome St., nr. Orchard St.; 917-453-6013.

The nearby DASH Dogs, slated to open later this month, shares a similar philosophy. Owners Steven Yee and Allen Leung, of the seafood shack Tides, tasted dozens of tube steaks before they settled on Empire Kosher, and their virtuous veggie dog comes from a Buddhist temple in Queens. Following in Gray’s footsteps, DASH will offer a two-dog special for $3.50
127 Rivington St., nr. Norfolk St.; 212-254-8885

Meanwhile, a few hot-dog freaks (namely us) have been in a lather recently over the exquisite brats (especially the buffalo-jalapeño-and-Cheddar) made by Terry Miller of Fort Collins, Colorado, and somehow served under the radar at Shake Shack, Danny Meyer’s Madison Square Park burger joint. They will be on more prominent display at Shake Shack’s Shacktoberfest event next month, and just when you thought life couldn’t get any better, Meyer has decided to extend the Shack’s season until December.


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